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Both my husband and I work with a friend. Over the years, we’ve noticed things about him — very poor listening, speaking, and writing skills; poor understanding and organization of information; and poor time management, to name a few.

Lately the penny dropped with us when we noticed that he’s developed quite a set of avoidance mechanisms that deflect attention from his lack of understanding or skill. In the past, he’s been able to fly under the radar; but things have changed at work lately, and that’s no longer the case. We’re on an important project where he’s in over his head. He’s really struggling, the project is floundering as a result, and management is noticing.

Is there anything we can do as friends? How do you suggest to someone who is in deep denial that he may have a learning disability? He shuts down when he senses “criticism”, or any kind of detection.

Your friend is lucky to have people who care about him. How did he get this far in life? How have you been able to accept his level of function or lack of function? I don’t know how to break through his avoidance and get him to do something. Maybe he will have to fail and lose his job before he wakes up and realizes he has to do something. Good luck.

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